From the next academic year, engineering students may have to do internships as part of their course. The Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), which will revamp the syllabi of the first and second semesters in 2014, is considering introducing internships as part of the curriculum. The proposal comes at a time when several surveys have declared a sizeable number of graduates “unemployable”.
Interestingly, the ‘incentive-based’ internship would not be restricted only to the final year/semester students, but will apply to students in all the semesters. As of now, students do internships in companies on a voluntary basis or because individual institutions have made it compulsory.
Speaking to The Hindu, VTU Vice-Chancellor H. Maheshappa said that making internships mandatory would work against students in rural areas where there are no industries/companies. “Many academics and professors pointed out that most industries are concentrated in cities like Bangalore. But students need to know how industries work. So, what we plan to do is to assign marks to internships,” he said. However, postgraduate students may have to do internships compulsorily from the next academic year. Explaining why it needs to be spread over the eight semesters, Prof. Maheshappa said: “Every year, over 50,000 engineering students graduate. Where will the industry accommodate them for internships? Also, students have vacations after each semester. They can make use of these to do internships.” Colleges, many of which have made it compulsory for their fourth-year students to undergo internships, have welcomed the move.
N.S. Narahari, Professor and Dean, Placement and Training, RV College of Engineering, however, stressed the importance of the “type” of internships offered to students. “While in the first two years, students can learn the fundamentals — may be interface with society (through social initiatives), the next two years could be dedicated to learning the technical aspects. But practical exposure is very useful; engineering is not complete without it. A laboratory is only a simulation of the industry,” Prof. Narahari said. The industry too is forthcoming in accommodating interns, though they are kept out of the purview of client-related confidential work, he added.
The industry seems to be ready to accept interns. As R. Shivakumar, president, Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) pointed out, the industry requires manpower almost equal to the number of engineering graduates.